Congress is the last place to look for “the brightest and the best” or the most knowledgeable. Still, most Senators and Representatives are at least somewhat better informed than people whose window on the world is Fox News.
Why then did they make spectacles of themselves listening, yet again, to what Benjamin Netanyahu has to say about Iran? Why would they care?
Why would anybody care what Netanyahu thinks?
The short answer is: because they must.
What Netanyahu thinks matters for the same reason that it matters what Republicans think or, for that matter what, ninety-five percent (or more) of the Democrats in Congress think — about Iran or anything else.
Their ideas are not worth taking seriously, not by a long shot. But their powers and offices are.
This is how it is in modern “democracies.” There is no shortage of people with ideas that merit consideration. But, with rare exceptions, those people are consigned to the margins of political life. Their views almost never affect public policy – not directly anyway, and not in a timely fashion.
Most of the exceptions are on the political right – thanks to the generosity of plutocrats wise enough to look more than one or two steps ahead.
By supplying think tanks and business-friendly university programs with resources sufficient for getting politicians to pay attention, they do sometimes get ideas that would otherwise be paid no heed taken seriously. Needless to say, these would be ideas that serve their interests.
Sound, progressive ideas are seldom taken seriously. They are as welcome in the halls of power as antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are welcome in modern hospitals.
This is not how it is supposed to be; but, then, the real world of democracy and democratic theory have never been on the same page. The gap has lately become more than usually cavernous, but the problem has always been with us.
– Read more: Who’s Afraid of the Israel Lobby? – Andrew Levine, CounterPunch